Knife for my daughter

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Blog entry by mafe posted 07-05-2017 04:19 PM 3727 reads 5 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Knife for my daughter
she’s a grown up now…

My sweet little daughter is still sweet, but not small any more.
She is turning 18 on the 17 this month but we already celebrated her big day a month early, so friends and family would not yet be on holiday.

Half a year ago, she told me that when she was turning 18, she would be happy to get one of my hand made knifes. She felt it was time for a new and more adult, than the kids knife I gave her ten years ago or so and I agreed to this request.
Also I would be more than happy to fulfill this dream, since I love making knifes and I could not find any person on the planet, I would love more to make a knife, since I love her even more than making knifes. ;-)

This is her first knife in 2007, back then she was also allowed to pick her own materials and the handle made after her hand. (She still have this knife and I have to say I am proud how well she kept it).
It was the knife no 15 I made and her new one is no 65 – so ten years and 50 knifes later.

Guess it all started here.
Ok, perhaps we don’t need the full story.

Then let’s jump 17 years ahead, a gray foggy day, on the island of Fyn.

Her father by a forge, forging his first knife blades.
You can find more on this here:

There’s another blog about forging the blades, so I will not make you tired by that, just show you a picture of how the blades looked before the final shaping and sanding.
I was a wee afraid, that the lower blade would have a problem, due to the crack near the edge, but it was only in the surface, so the edge became perfectly fine.

Here a blade after it was finished.
It had been hardened, tempered and yes I like the blades right out of the stove, no polish, the roughness and the patine of the forging.

Back in Copenhagen, my daughter passed the shop one day, half a year ago and she was given the chance to pick her favorite blade, wood, bolster and I took measures of her hand, so it could be a perfect fit.
The blade was from the Fyn tour, the wood is Palm tree, a silver plate inlay and finally whale baleen for the bolster.
She had one wish for the making; ‘I don’t want a girls knife, I want a real knife’ she said.
From then on, the rest was behind closed doors.

First some holes are drilled into the handle and then hollowed out between them.

Like this the blade can fit inside.

Same goes for the bolster, only here I use small needle files, to make the fit to the blade perfect after.

Basically a knife.
Here you can see my setup, when working on the small parts.

This is where I sit and think of her, while working at her knife.

Now for the glue part.
Step one is to tape and grease up the parts, that I don’t want glue to stick to.
You can use leather fat or vaseline for this.

Bolster all greased up.

The handle are filled with epoxy glue and then it’s set under pressure in a clamp, for 24 hours.

Once the idea and measures for the shape are sketched up on the wood, it is time to cut it, just roughly to shape.

Cleaning and finding the curves.

We got a knife!
Once more; ‘yes MaFe but it might be best if you work some more on this’.

The same for the back.

My favorite knife tool, the Supersander are used to free hand, shape the handle, not really sure where I go, just feeling my way.

Mistakes are made, this goes for my daughters upbringing, for me as a father and then of course for her knife also.
I had drilled the hole too deep, so once I shaped it, the whole became visual and epoxy are not the thing of beauty here.
So a small piece is cut out and another fitted into the hole.
We call this a lice. ;-)

Glue with some epoxy mixed with saw dust from the palm wood.
After it was sanded flat.

Once the knife was shaped and sandend with grids; 120-240-360-600-1000-1200, it was time to soak it over night in Danish oil.

Now time to close up the work shop, saddel up the old Vespa and drive home. ;-)
(Ok, I admit the first part took several days of drying, joy and work).

Another day in the small workshop.
Another set of tools.

A piece of paper formed around the knife, this makes a template for the leather.
Just adding a wee extra for the sewing, I have decided to try the Nordic sewing method, for the first time.
So I am guessing a little here.

Holes, holes and holes.
For the belt strap and for the stitching.

Thinning the edges since I want a raised stitch.

Ok, I went a little fast.
The holes were marked with a wheel like this.

Then made with an awl.

And the belt holes made with a puncher.

For the belt loop a hole is punched.

Then slightly tapered cuts.

So the sheath and the loop can merge like this, no stitching, just leather against leather.

Coloring the edges, with leather dye.

Then the full surface.

Black is the new…............................... black.

Ok what happened to black?
Well another mistake… I had cut the sheath so tight that the stitching holes where to fragile. So no other way, than to trash it and make a new, just a wee bigger.
Just like raising a child, two steps forward, then; ‘here we go again’.

So a new one made and then put into a water bath, to soak for a little time.
This time I wait with the black…

Then wrapping it around the knife and sewing.
The knife blade is greased, then a piece of card board on each side and finally all wrapped up in clingfilm.
This time you can see the extra leather by the stitching.

Once sewn, the surface are compressed with a antler tool, then time to punch my little heart of love into the sheath.

The extra leather are trimmed and then I work on the edge with a piece of antler.

Second try on the holes for the belt loop.

Ohhh yes and my MaFe brand is punched into the sheath also.

I can still use the belt loop.

And I like the way it blends in, so it is time for some color – black color.

One end of the loop is thinned and sewn to it self.

Sheath and belt loop.

Then sticking the ends in.

And fully merged.
I find this detail elegant.

Oil and wax for the leather.
We got a finished sheath.

Now time to think into the box…

Parts glued with white glue.

Pegged with wood nails.

Box in the table saw miter key / spline jig and cut.

Splines glued in and roughly trimmed.


A box!
Ohhhhh yes after making a locking mechanism and some sanding.

Lets open the box.

The lid has a earth magnet locking mechanism.

Out comes the knife.

Fathers love.

Out of the sheath, ready to be handled over now.

I think I did it, not a girls knife, a real woman’s knife.
Strong, independent, curvy and fresh, sweet and dangerous. ;-)

The birthday party.
Held in a park, fifty people for picnic, food, cake and Mojito bar, what a day!
Yes, Mathilde seemed to be happy, she said she liked it a lot and send me those eyes, that makes me proud as a father and here also as a maker.
Hopefully the knife will follow her for many years and perhaps bring her memories of days in the shop, her fathers and hers shared joys, perhaps one day she will teach some one to make a willow whistle or just cut a stick for a bread on the camp fire. ;-)

My page ‘the making of a knife’:

Hope it can be to some inspiration.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

16 comments so far

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2096 days

#1 posted 07-05-2017 04:27 PM

Every young lady needs a good prison shank. Well done.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View lew's profile


12939 posts in 4365 days

#2 posted 07-05-2017 04:41 PM

18 already!

We’ve all watched her grow up, through your stories, to a wonderful young lady. You must be so proud to see how your life’s lessons have molded her.

Beautiful knife, too!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View tyvekboy's profile


1961 posts in 3623 days

#3 posted 07-05-2017 05:03 PM

Great tutorial on how you made it.

I only have one question.

How is the “tails” of the belt loop attached to the sheath?

Tacked with thread or glued with contact cement?

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View madts's profile


1923 posts in 2950 days

#4 posted 07-05-2017 05:06 PM

Good father, beautiful young lady and a marvelous knife.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23776 posts in 3716 days

#5 posted 07-05-2017 05:17 PM

Great tutorial, Mads. I seem to be like that too. Always have a some rework to do to make it just right.

Nice work on the the knife and the sweet box for it!!

Cheers, My friend….........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Don W's profile

Don W

19441 posts in 3178 days

#6 posted 07-05-2017 07:17 PM

What an awesome gift!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View JCamp's profile


1040 posts in 1161 days

#7 posted 07-05-2017 10:09 PM

Well congrats on ur daughter turning 18. Both knifes are beautiful and I’m sure she will cherish them for many years since u made them for her.
This reminds me of a story my high school teacher told. He said when he’d just started teaching (probably 40-50 years ago now) that he was in class An needed some scissors but couldn’t find any when a girl told him she had a knife he could use. He said it seemed odd but he agreed them she pulled out a great big switch blade An gave it to him. He said he was kind of taken back and asked her why in the world she was carrying such a big knife. She said “my dad gave it to me in case any boys try An get fresh”. Lol. I bet whoever dated her was quite the gentleman. Lol

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4707 days

#8 posted 07-06-2017 02:58 AM

A wonderful gift she will treasure forever.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View albachippie's profile


773 posts in 3645 days

#9 posted 07-06-2017 09:20 AM

I love this quote:-

“I think I did it, not a girls knife, a real woman’s knife.
Strong, independent, curvy and fresh, sweet and dangerous. ;-)”

This is a fantastic blog Sir. I don’t comment on here much now, but still look in to see what everybody is up to. This was really worth stopping by and appreciating. Truly excellent work, and inspiring, as I have come to expect from you Mads. It makes me think that I have missed so many opportunities to spend time with my girls in the shop, but, you have inspired my to get in there and let them make and have fun.

Thank you my friend,

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10872 posts in 4662 days

#10 posted 07-06-2017 11:07 PM

Hi MaFe!


Cool tutorial…

COOL knife…

COOL sheath…

COOL box!

COOL gift!

Thank you very much…

I’m sure your daughter LOVED it!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 3298 days

#11 posted 08-10-2017 10:58 AM

WOW !!! what a project and what an instructable … love it !!!!

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3979 days

#12 posted 08-10-2017 11:13 AM

OK MaFe, time for you to get into one of the LJ swaps. The new one is right up your alley.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6836 posts in 1323 days

#13 posted 08-10-2017 01:45 PM

P.S. dont forget to join THIS SWAP :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View mafe's profile


12317 posts in 3699 days

#14 posted 08-30-2017 09:17 AM

Hi there, back after a fine summer.
Yes she is 18 now… Still trying to cope with that fact, that my little girl is a woman. Happy and proud with a little blues also. She said one day to me: ‘Daddy we made it!’. What more can I ask for?
GR8HUNTER, Thank you. That do look like a swap just for me, but no time now, I am working on two knifes for good friends, so making my own small MaFe swap…
papadan, I think I have doe a fair deal of swaps here, I have many tools in the shop from LJ friends, but yes I need to keep my eyes open on those swaps, I always see them too late.
steliart, Big smile dear Stelios.
Joe Lyddon, Great comment – cool Joe! Yes she was really happy. Thank you.
albachippie, thank you Gerry, those were really fine words and I smile. Yes time with our children never comes back and trust me, once they leave the nest you will not regret what you did, but what you did not do.
WayneC, big smile Wayne.
JCamp, ha ha, what a story, yes he must be a gentleman or at a hospital. ;-) Thank you for the kind words.
Don W, thanks Don.
Jim Jakosh, yes life is like that, if it’s perfect from the beginning something is wrong… Thank you.
madts, big smile, I try my best and I feel I do ok, what more can one ask…
tyvekboy, sorry the late answer if you needed it… The tails are just held by the friction, once the leather have been shaped and hardened it will go no were. You can hold it in place with contact cement while working on it though. Thank you.
lew, Smiles yes I guess we have such a long history now on LJ, that we actually have seen kids grow up. Thank you for being a part of all that. The truth is, I can’t get it… Also have to admit I miss her now she is out of the nest here, but my heart smiles. Thank you.
TheFridge, ha ha, yes that’s a must. Smiles.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View JimCl's profile


7 posts in 656 days

#15 posted 04-13-2018 03:56 PM

Simply impressive!

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

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